Collection Huysman (1968)
Private Collection, Europe
Acquired from the above
David Sylvester, ed., Sarah Whitfield & Michael Raeburn, René Magritte, Catalogue raisonné, IV: Gouaches, Temperas, Watercolours and Papier Collés 1918-1967, London, 1994, no. 1290, illustrated p. 119
Magritte classified La folle du logis as one of his “objets-gouaches” and as the catalogue raisonné for the artist’s work records: “an ‘objet-gouache’ was presumably intended to be displayed like one of Magritte’s “tableaux-objets”, that is to say stood upright on a flat surface rather than hung on a wall” (D. Sylvester (ed.), op. cit., p. 119). Although it seems likely that the present work was never framed in this way, Magritte’s very precise and illusionistic stye depiction of the nest and candle make it easy to see how effective this would have been. The combination of the dark background and the brilliant white of the candle and egg have a mesmeric quality as Magritte brilliantly juxtaposes the illusionism of his technique with the disconcerting effect caused by his choice of objects.
The artist’s use of gouache facilitated his intricate style of representation but also introduced a brighter tone to his compositions. Siegfried Gohr, discussing the importance of the artist’s gouaches, wrote that “the coloured works on paper reveal the brilliant talent of Magritte the painter. Even though he repeatedly denied his ‘artistry’, belittling the traditional habitus of the virtuoso artist genius and emphasizing instead the artist’s intellectual work, his gouaches in particular reveal how masterfully he was able to apply his extraordinary gift of visualising his pictorial ideas” (S. Gohr, Magritte: Attempting the Impossible, New York, 2009, pp. 77-78).
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